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Fred The Terrapin


Got to drive my car on the road for the first time today but prior driving I went for a 2 minute walk along the Canal to check everything was in order. Fred the Terrapin was sunbathing as usual but my day was about to change when a member of the public pointed out a dead bird to me in a tree. Looking closer at the bird it appeared at first to be a Little Owl but looking at the pictures closely on my computer screen and it looks to be a young Tawny Owl. I'm going back to retreive the bird tomorrow just to make sure as it did look very small to be a Tawny and I have seen a few Tawnies in my life time. Lots of flying ants today! The birds and dragonflies are having a field-day!

Patching again in South Sebastopol

Yet another Small Copper in Sebastopol: This time in a different meadow altogether. Fred the Terrapin was out on one of his favourite logs and yet another Kingfisher making an appearance on the typical perch on this stretch of water. I'll be setting up a little hide soon behind this perch in the woodland behind. Who knows, I may get lucky!


After yesterdays successful session on the Canal, I had to try it again. No sign of that Grasshopper Warbler but on the Butterfly count, the patch produced yet again! I had 2 sightings at different times and slightly different area's of Small Copper, for which the most part is pretty rare these days in Gwent.. To see 2 in one day is pretty good and an indicator that the sight may be good for that butterfly for whatever reasons..(right temperature, right food plants/habitat etc). All this is in vein however because these fields will be completely extinct and replaced with houses. My Terrapin Friend 'Fred' was out in the Sun again today and actually allowed me to get pretty darn close today! I could reach out and grab him if I wanted to! (perhaps I should have)?...I kind of like his presence now if I'm honest, I know it's sad but I welcome seeing him on the Canal. If only they didn't cause so much damage to our ecosystem. A Kingfisher made a short appearance on the Canal which seemed to be using the wall as a perch, which is all it really has. I'm going to use that lack of perch and put my own there so that it has something to use and who knows, maybe one day i'll be well hidden enough for it to not notice me and I'll get that shot I'm still waiting for. Our local Sparrowhawks and Buzzards both managed to fledge their chicks today also! The Sparrowhawk chicks (2) were flying around the tree tops and making a hell of a racket. The buzzard chick (1) was doing similar things while practising landing on thin branches. 

South Sebastopol Canal

Lots of activity on the Canal today! Over 50 swifts gathered at the lock for a drink and feeding above the meadows before moving on south. Lots of Dragonfly activity. Common Whitethroats were a plenty with lots of chicks around. Also spotted a Redkite high in the sky.

Local Terrapin (Fred)

Activity was booming on the Canal with the warm weather that we had yesterday and today. Damselflies recorded so far have been: Common Blue, Blue-tailed and Red-eyed Damselflies. A Kingfisher appeared late evening that looked to be roosting on the edge of the woodland. 

We had a very large active Pike in full hunting mode too which for the most part was scaring people as they walked passed due to the big splash they would make when trying to catch the fish up against the bank. Amongst the Pike were nice sized bream and smaller roach all feeding on various things falling into the water. While trying to photograph one of the Pike, I took the opportunity to follow a head bream that was floating down the canal in the wind... It wasn't a Pike that came to eat it though.. It was the local Terrapin lol. Though for the most part he was just head butting the fish away from him, he did manage to pull off a few bites before carrying on with his business. He/she is certainly not afraid of people as it swam right up to me this time. If you have a Dog however, it will not stick around for long and you'll most likely hear a plop from him jumping back into the water.

Pet Industry (Terrapin) (Fred)

I must admit, seeing these guys on the Canal is quite... nice. They are pretty little things and pose very well for the camera.. However, they have the potential to cause a lot of damage to our native wildlife. They are opportunistic creatures that will eat whatever is on offer in that particular season.. There are a few particular things that concern me when seeing these guys in the Canal.. People have been asking me, where is all the frog spawn on the canal this year? Well.. Most of it had sunken to the bottom at that point but, frog spawn and tadpoles would be on the hit list for a feeding terrapin. Also, dragonfly larvae, small fish, frogs, toads and even baby chicks would be easy pickings for a terrapin that can swim fast when it wants to and has a perfect camouflage for any water environment. It is on that note alone that I will be reporting these guys to our local ecologist to see if anything can be done about these invasive species that simply don't belong there. 

If there were any positive effects of their presence, i'm not sure it would outweigh the negative effect at this point. For now I'll continue to document them and their activities on my patch. I've already recorded 2 in the same area so who knows, they may be breeding. 

A lot of people blame the pet owners for irresponsibly releasing them into the wild but personally I think the Pet Industry is largely to blame for over producing and breeding these animals to the point where they are ending up in too many homes (most of which breed them privately).